Thursday, December 14, 2017

New Report: Surge in the Supply of Higher-Cost Rental Housing is Slowing Amidst Persistent Affordability Challenges for Working-Class Households


A decade of unprecedented growth in the rental housing market may be coming to an end, according to our 2017 America’s Rental Housing report, being released today. Fewer new renter households are being formed, rental vacancy rates have risen, and rent increases have slowed. At the same time, renter demographics are changing and nearly 21 million households continue to pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent.

This year’s report paints a complicated picture of the rental market. We’re finally seeing the record growth in renters slow down, but while the market has responded to rental housing needs for higher-income households, there are alarming trends that suggest a growing inability to supply housing that is affordable for middle- and working-class renters, let alone those with very low incomes. Addressing these challenges will require bold leadership and hard choices from both the public and private sector.

The report is accompanied by a series of interactive tools and charts that explore rental housing trends at the state and metro level, including cost burdens, affordability, and changes in rental supply and demand. Highlights of the 2017 findings include:

  • SIGNS OF A SLOWDOWN. Overall, rents increased more slowly in most markets across the country. Starts of new multifamily units reached a plateau in 2016 and have now fallen by about 9 percent through October 2017.

  • THE CHANGING NATURE OF RENTERS. While renters are disproportionately younger and lower-income, growing shares of renters are older and higher-income. For example, the number of renter households earning more than $100,000 per year increased from 3.3 million in 2006 to 6.1 million in 2016.

  • THE CHANGING NATURE OF NEW RENTAL UNITS. Additions to the rental stock are increasingly concentrated at the high end of the market. The share of new units renting for $1,500 or more (in real terms) soared from 15 percent in 2001 to 40 percent in 2016. Additionally, the share of new units renting for less than $850 per month fell from 42 percent of the rental stock to 18 percent. The challenges to building low- and moderate-cost units are most severe in metros like San Jose, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Washington, D.C., where more than 50 percent of all rental units rent for over $1,500 a month.

  • AFFORDABILITY CONTINUES TO BE A MAJOR PROBLEM. Despite rising incomes, nearly half (47 percent) of all renter households (21 million) are cost burdened—meaning they pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing, including 11 million households paying more than 50 percent of their income for housing. While these figures are down slightly from recent years, the number and share of cost-burdened renters is much higher than it was in 2001, when 41 percent (15 million) were cost burdened. Burdens are particularly high in Miami, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and San Diego, where 55 percent or more of renters are cost burdened.

  • AVAILABILITY OF RENTAL ASSISTANCE HAS SHRUNK. Even as low-cost housing units are disappearing, rental assistance is becoming harder to access for very-low-income households. The share of very-low-income households who receive rental assistance declined from 28 percent in 2001 to 25 percent in 2015.

Addressing these challenges—particularly expanding the availability of low- and moderate-cost housing options—will require that all levels of government ensure that the regulatory environment does not stifle innovation, and that tax policy and public spending support the efficient provision of moderately-priced housing.

You can view the full report and interactive metro-level tools here.



LIVE WEBCAST TODAY @ 1pm ET

The release event for America’s Rental Housing 2017, being held today at the Newseum in Washington, DC, will be webcast live from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. The event will feature keynotes by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Pamela Hughes Patenaude, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as a panel discussion moderated by Laura Kusisto, housing reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

For the full agenda or to watch the livestream, visit www.jchs.harvard.edu.

You can also join the conversation on Twitter with #harvardhousingreport

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fostering Inclusion: Whose Problem? Which Problem?

by Xavier de Souza Briggs
Ford Foundation
Asking "what would it take"—about housing segregation or any other challenge— assumes, on some level, that we have adequate agreement that some condition or pattern is, in fact, a problem. But in America, we have never been able to take that for granted, not about most of our big challenges, not even about the things that strike many of us as profoundly inconsistent with fairness and equal opportunity as core American values. Moreover, we have shown a persistent and very particular indecision and impasse when it comes to acting on housing segregation. The political Left remains ambivalent about it, wondering whether it is urgent to address segregation per se, whether such effort comes at a cost to other urgent efforts, and whether segregation can be tackled in ways that do not stigmatize poor people of color in particular. Put another way, the seemingly natural allies for an agenda to tackle inequality by addressing segregation have mixed feelings about both the problem and at least some of the solutions. The political Right, on the other hand, has been generally hostile to the idea that segregation is a problem, even if most Americans, on both Left and Right, agree that discrimination in the housing market is not only illegal but morally wrong. And many who go further—who agree that segregation itself is a problem—are less convinced that it warrants government intervention.

These are some of the reasons that we, as a country, "rediscover" segregation and its enormous human costs every decade or so, only to conclude that it is too intractable or questionable to tackle with serious resolve. This rediscovering happened after the civil unrest in Los Angeles in 1992, again after Hurricane Katrina put concentrated black poverty and public outrage squarely on TV screens nationwide, and again as political and media attention to extreme inequality has gown in recent years. Among scholars and opinion leaders, the influential work of economist Raj Chetty and collaborators points to segregation as a key barrier to economic mobility in America—and one that varies sharply between more and less segregated regions of the country. This latest-generation work supports earlier conclusions, by sociologists Douglas S. Massey and Nancy A. Denton in American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass and by others, that housing segregation by race and income is, in fact, one of the lynchpins of American inequality. Along with mass incarceration, it is one of the structural patterns that differentiates America from other wealthy nations (though Europe faces growing challenges too). Segregated housing patterns are durable and enduring in part because they are sustained by forces that many view as legitimate and even unavoidable, if unfortunate. These patterns have been called out explicitly at least since lawyer and planning professor Charles Abrams's book, Forbidden Neighbors: A Study of Prejudice in Housing, and by national policymakers since the landmark Kerner Commission report on the riots that tore apart American cities 50 years ago. For now, there are no signs that we as a people are serious about changing segregation.

In this brief post, I'd like to offer a specific reading of the very thoughtful symposium framing paper and the larger project of which it is a part. I work at a grant-making foundation long committed to expanding knowledge about, and promoting solutions to, inequality, including solutions that center on housing and specifically housing segregation. I have also pursued these aims over several stints in federal government service and tackled them as a community planner at the local level. Finally, about sixteen years ago, when I was a researcher and educator, I organized a symposium and collection of papers—led by the Harvard Civil Rights Project and cosponsored by the Joint Center for Housing Studies and the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program—focused on segregation, its causes and consequences, and "what it would take" to effect real change at scale. That produced an edited volume, The Geography of Opportunity: Race and Housing Choice in Metropolitan America. I want to briefly look back—asking what has or has not changed in our understanding of the problems and potential solutions over the past decade plus—and also look forward.



Starting Points

The 2001 symposium had several points of departure, and revisiting them now offers some perspective on how our national mood, key attention-getting trends, political leadership, and more have evolved. One starting point was the sharply increased attention, in the late 1990s, to America's dominant pattern of urban sprawl and the idea of pursuing more sustainable or "smart" growth alternatives. The interest in this issue sparked healthy debate, though mainly among scholars, planners and allied professionals, about the tradeoffs between environmental aims and values of equity, including housing affordability. The environmental justice movement also drew attention to spatial inequality, focusing on the highly disproportionate exposure of poor communities of color to toxins and other environmental risks.

Advancing this debate seemed important in light of evidence that economic inequality was increasing sharply in America, whether measured in wealth, income, or other dimensions. We wondered about more environmentally sustainable but increasingly unaffordable communities pulling away from distressed, built-up and—in some cases—highly polluted places.

Other starting points were even more tectonic, driven by large-scale demographic change. Much of the wealthy world has modest to zero population growth, but America is different: We are a large and still-growing nation, thanks mainly to immigration, which is, in turn, driving greater racial and ethnic diversity. In the 1990s, for example, the population of most American cities would have shrunk if not for immigration. What is more, as of the 2000 census, an estimated one-third of the built environment needed to accommodate population growth in America over the next generation did not yet exist. It represented projected new development. This underscored the huge stakes associated with how we grow, particularly the prospects for inclusionary growth. It also underlined the fact that our debates about persistent segregation cannot be limited to public housing in inner cities or to other long-established fixtures of our current spatial footprint. We always need to be asking about what's next too—about the course of new development, both infill and at the edges of urban regions. And of course, we need to pay attention to how these development trends influence each other and influence our politics and sense of what's possible.

To sum up, in 2001, for the intersecting reasons outlined above, we asked: Can an increasingly diverse nation hope to deal with growing economic inequality if the dominant growth model "on the ground" is one of persistent segregation by race and income? Do the parts of that equation add up?

By comparison, the framing paper for this year's symposium centers more squarely on the growth of inequality and the much greater political and even cultural salience of the issue now versus 15 or so years ago. That salience is encouraging. In terms of local trends, the American media and the public are even more aware now, than after the economic boom of the late 1990s, that "cities are back." Major cities that still showed substantial decline a decade ago—New Orleans and large sections of Detroit, for example—have seen their population trends reverse and have attracted enormous investment since, especially over the course of the recovery from the Great Recession. Housing prices are up, structurally, along with the job economy in those and other revitalizing cities. So, a debate about the drivers of segregation and responses to it today appropriately gives greater weight, than did earlier discussions, to urban redevelopment—and the need for "development without displacement," as advocates in revitalizing cities frame the need.

The sense of displacement, of being pushed out, is much sharper now than in 2001. But in point of fact, the pattern is nothing new, and some observers forecast this predicament long ago, linking it to the forces driving urban vitality after decades of decline. For example, in Dual City: Restructuring New YorkJohn H. Mollenkopf and Manuel Castells showed that New York's comeback from the low point of the bankruptcy crisis of the 1970s had made the city a global magnet for investment capital and high-income occupations, sharply inflating land values and housing prices. Over the 1980s, they reported, poverty had been pushed outward, "like a ring donut," from neighborhoods in the city's core to its outer boroughs as well as its more racially diverse, fiscally vulnerable inner suburbs. The subsequent decades have merely sustained and accelerated those trends, with New York City showing itself one of the canaries in the coal mine. What Detroit and other cities are seeing and debating now, New York, Boston and other "comeback cities" experienced a couple of decades earlier. And it is structural, not an artifact of one business cycle or another. These trends were barely interrupted by the Great Recession.

Finally, having thus far emphasized those durable, long-run structural trends, I want to acknowledge more recent developments. In addition to the growth of inequality, the framing and other papers in this year's symposium reflect the enormous impacts of the foreclosure crisis, which we had only dimly foreshadowed in the 2005 book's chapter on "The Dual Mortgage Market: The Persistence of Discrimination in Mortgage Lending," by William Apgar and Allegra Calder. Beyond a huge loss of housing wealth and greater regulation in the mortgage market, there is another important legacy of the crisis, and it is a healthy one: We are much more conscious now, than in the real estate boom of the early 2000s, about how profoundly the workings of the real estate industry, and its rapid evolution thanks to information technology, can hurt us. In that vein, one of the most ground-breaking sessions in this year's JCHS symposium focused on the present and future of housing searches in an era of platform apps, algorithms, and technology-mediated screening of many kinds. The session put housing scholars in direct exchange with senior analysts and strategists from online real estate search companies that dominate the housing marketplace. Housing searches were different, and our understanding of them much more limited, 15 years ago.


Solution Set

If the unequal housing marketplace has evolved—dramatically in some ways—over the past 15 plus years, our sense of the best-available levers for changing segregation has not. Nor has our story about why acting on segregation is both legitimate and urgent, both big and structural and doable and achievable. To be fair, by some measures, our prescriptions today are not all that different from those championed by the "open housing" movement—the inheritors of the civil rights movement and the Kerner Commission warnings—in the early 1970s. This suggests at least three lessons over the long run.

The first is that we, as a country, lack will more than we lack imagination—let alone sophisticated analysis. The second is that we need new stories and ways to tell them. In recent memory, the very best case against segregation was made by comedian, John Oliver, who in 2016 used his satirical cable news program Last Week Tonight to explain three extremely important things about how America works: first, how school and housing segregation enable each other; second, why they guarantee that America will reproduce stark inequalities from one generation to the next; and third, how these closely linked forms of segregation stubbornly resist change.

The third lesson over the long run is that beyond lacking a compelling story to motivate change, we sometimes lack perspective as well. Take the persistent tendency to conflate discrimination, which the framing paper emphasizes, with segregation. People in America continue to experience housing discrimination, which is illegal, and continue to under-report it. As we analyzed in detail in the 2005 book, such discrimination, while inconsistent with public opinion in America, is challenging to detect and enforce against. But the larger and less acknowledged point was and is this: discrimination, whether conscious or unconscious, against particular kinds of consumers is far less important, as a driver of segregation, than is the avoidance of certain neighborhoods or localities by those with the best housing options, especially whites and higher skill, higher income people of color. This "self-steering" behavior has big social and fiscal costs, as scholars of segregation have pointed out for nearly half a century now. But it is not illegal. Moreover, as sociologist Camille Charles argued in her 2005 chapter on attitudes toward the racial make-up of neighborhoods, many of us balance what we think we owe our families with what we think might contribute, however modestly, to a fairer and more just society. And many of us experience these values as frequently in conflict, especially when faced with decision to move somewhere.

Laws against housing discrimination by realtors, lenders or others in the marketplace are important and should be enforced. But doing so would have limited effects on segregation. It is far more important to expand real housing choices, especially for lower income people of color, and to understand how people choose among the options available to them.

Finally, as the framing paper demonstrates, the Joint Center's 2017 symposium encompasses an extraordinarily rich and in-depth update of what I think of as the four enduring debates about segregation: the what (the descriptive patterns or shape of the problem), the why (causes), the so what (consequences), and the now what (solutions). And thanks to big data, mobile broadband, a more visible inequality debate, and other developments, it offers a very contemporary take on what's possible, in theory, when it comes to change. In the language of our 2005 redux, the solutions boil down to "curing" segregation (changing stubborn housing patterns) or "mitigating" it (making the patterns less socially costly, by shifting the relationship between where you live and the risks and resources you encounter). The former centers on relocation and inclusionary development strategies, the latter on reinvestment, connectivity, and access to institutions—sometimes life-changing ones—beyond one's segregated neighborhood.

This body of work and those solutions deserve an equally serious and committed story—a resonant narrative—joined to an advocacy and constituency building effort that's relevant in a changing, polarized, deeply unsettled American body politic. Without that, we seem consigned, in practice, to continue rediscovering segregation and also to continue lamenting that it is just too hard—or worse yet, un-American—to undo.



Papers from the A Shared Future symposium are available on the JCHS website

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Rebuilding from 2017's Natural Disasters: When, For What, and How Much?

by Kermit Baker and
Alexander Hermann
The bulk of repairs to homes damaged by this year's record-setting disasters will not be done until 2019 or 2020, according to our analysis of post-disaster spending between 1994 and 2015. The analysis, which looked at the estimated annual cost of natural disasters alongside annual estimates of disaster-related home repairs and improvements, suggests that an increase of $10 billion in total disaster losses any time in the previous three years is associated with about $300 million in additional annual spending on disaster-related home repairs and improvements.

Notes: Dollar values are adjusted for inflation using the CPI-U for all items. Natural disaster costs include only natural disasters that generate over $1 billion in damages after adjusting for inflation.
Sources: JCHS tabulation of US Housing and Urban Development, American Housing Survey, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data.


The finding is significant because 2017 was an unusually destructive year. While inflation-adjusted, disaster-related damages averaged about $40 billion a year between 1994 and 2015, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria together caused about $150 billion in damages, according to estimates from CoreLogic and Moody’s Analytics (Figure 1). Moreover, damages from 2017’s winter storms, droughts, and wildfires will push these numbers even higher. In fact, the total cost of 2017’s disasters could exceed damages from any year in the last two decades, including 2005, the previous record year, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (and a host of smaller but significant disasters) combined to cause more than $200 billion in damages (in inflation-adjusted dollars).

As in other years that were marked by particularly destructive storms and other disasters, this year’s damages should lead to a spurt in construction activity. Some of it will be construction of and renovations to infrastructure and commercial buildings. Some will be the construction of new single-family homes and multifamily housing units. And some will be disaster-related repairs and improvements to both owner-occupied and rental housing.

Extensive flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Port Arthur, Texas.

To estimate how much will be spent on post-disaster home repairs, and when that spending is likely to occur, we combined information on disaster-related damages reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with data on disaster-related home repairs and improvements for the same years found in the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey (AHS). The AHS, as a survey of households, only asks owners to report spending on their homes. The comparison suggests that renovation spending continues to increase for about two to three years after the natural disaster occurs, and that an increase of $10 billion in disaster losses any time over the prior three years generates about $300 million in additional disaster-related home improvement spending during the year studied. If this pattern holds, the bulk of the spending from 2017 losses won’t occur until 2019 or 2020. But when it occurs, there is likely to be a substantial increase in spending on home renovations in those years.

While the delay between disaster losses and repair expenditures may seem unusually lengthy, it is consistent with a study funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that examined the rebuilding that took place following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In a recent Joint Center blog on that study’s implications, our colleague Jonathan Spader (who worked on the initial HUD study) reported that only 70 percent of hurricane-damaged properties in Louisiana and Mississippi had been rebuilt by early 2010, five years after the storms. The study further found that 74 percent of owner-occupied homes had been rebuilt, compared to only 60 percent of the rental properties.

The delays are due to many factors. Insurance companies need to assess the extent of the damage and determine how much is covered. Home improvement contractors, stretched to the limit and suffering from a labor squeeze, must delay certain projects. Owners have to consider local housing and labor market conditions to determine if repairs or improvements make financial sense. Often, federal, state, and local government entities may slow down rebuilding while they decide whether it’s feasible and, if so, whether building codes and insurance guidelines should be more stringent.

Nevertheless, spending will occur and, when it does, it can be substantial. Illustratively, in 2015 (which came after a few relatively mild years for disasters) spending on disaster-related home renovations accounted for almost $11 billion of the $220 billion spent nationally improving owner-occupied homes according to the 2015 AHS. (Lightning and fires accounted for $2.4 billion of this spending, floods for $2.0 billion, and tornados and hurricanes for $1.6 billion. Winter storms, thunderstorms, earthquakes, and drought accounted for the remainder.)

In short, 2017’s hurricanes and other disasters are likely to result in substantial spending on rebuilding, repairs, and improvements to disaster-damaged homes. Moreover, while that spending will ramp up slowly, it is likely to stretch into next decade.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Rationales for (and Challenges to) Addressing Residential Segregation

by David Luberoff, Deputy Director

The consequences of racial segregation, the rationales for public policies to address those consequences, and the priorities for action are the central focus of three papers we released today as part of a new series of papers and blogs on A Shared Future: Fostering Communities of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality.

The newly released papers are:

Sheryll Cashin
Georgetown University
Integration as a Means of Restoring Democracy and Opportunity, by Sheryll Cashin, examines the role physical segregation plays in undermining race relations, democracy, and opportunity in the United States. The paper argues that segregation and supremacy must be dismantled with the same level of concerted effort and intention with which they were cultivated. While Cashin notes that the enduring effectiveness of divide-and-conquer, dog-whistling politics makes it unlikely that this work will be carried out by class-based coalition of people of all colors, she is optimistic about the possibilities for creating ascending coalitions of culturally dexterous whites and progressive people of color that could fight together for integration and equity in the regions where they live.

Nancy McArdle &
Dolores Acevdo-Garcia,
Brandeis University
Consequences of Segregation for Children's Opportunity and Wellbeing, by Nancy McArdle and Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, notes that mounting research evidence increasingly reveals the cost of segregation in terms of children's health, education, and long-term economic success. The paper argues for concentrated efforts to promote integrated, diverse education, which has been shown to improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills, the development of cross-racial trust, and the ability to navigate cultural differences. Given the close connection between residential patterns and school assignments, the policies that encourage neighborhood integration, including affirmatively furthering fair housing, enforcing anti-discrimination laws, providing incentives for affordable housing construction in higher opportunity areas, and inclusionary zoning, would likely also reduce segregation in schools, as well as provide more equitable access to other neighborhood assets that are beneficial to child wellbeing. However, they warn that since new policy directions regarding taxes and entitlements, fair housing, and school choice, to name a few, all have great potential to exacerbate economic and racial/ethnic segregation, the present is an especially significant moment to understand the extent and costs of segregation for children.

       Jennifer Hochschild
    & Shanna Weitz
    Harvard University
Challenging Group-Based Segregation and Isolation: Whether and Why, by Jennifer Hochschild and Shanna Weitz, explores two fundamental contradictions in liberal norms that make it challenging to effectively intervene to reduce the disadvantages of isolated or segregated communities. The first challenge involves the tension between the desire to end segregation and isolation and the fact that, in some situations, liberal ideals permit, and in some circumstances encourage, group isolation and separation. The second is that, while there are well-established ways to address racial and ethnic isolation, the US lacks a parallel set of norms, laws, practices, and advocates for lessening class isolation. The authors conclude by noting that liberal polities have never sorted out the tension between individual rights and group autonomy and probably never will. However, they add, that is no excuse for failing to take the steps toward freedom of choice and exciting opportunities to flourish that any liberal should embrace.

In combination with a previously released framing paper, which summarized existing evidence on patterns, causes, and consequences of residential segregation in the United States, the three papers help set the stage for other papers from the project. Those papers, which will be released monthly over the next half year, will focus on the question of "what would it take" to create and carry out policies to address a range of housing-related issues including integration, gentrification, and education. The papers, which will also be collected into an edited volume to be published in 2018, initially were presented at a two-day symposium that was convened by the Joint Center in April 2017.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Shared Future: Fostering Communities of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality

by Jonathan Spader and
Shannon Rieger
Almost 50 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, what would it take to meaningfully reduce residential segregation and/or mitigate its negative consequences in the United States?

Over the next several months, the Joint Center for Housing Studies will publish working papers on various aspects of this question written by a diverse set of scholars, policymakers, and practitioners. The papers will be available on our website and will also be collected into an edited volume to be published next year. The papers were presented at a two-day symposium, A Shared Future: Fostering Communities of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality, that was convened by the Joint Center earlier this year.

At the symposium's seven thematically-focused panels, the authors took stock of the changing patterns of residential segregation by race/ethnicity and income, and examined concrete steps that could achieve meaningful improvements within the next 10-to-15 years. On a monthly basis from this fall until next summer, we will publish those papers on a panel-by-panel basis, along with a series of blogs, many of them by others who attended the symposium, that further engage with the event's central question.

This process begins today with the publication of our framing paper for the symposium, which summarizes existing evidence on three topics: the current patterns of residential segregation by race/ethnicity and income, the causes of residential segregation in the United States, and the consequences for individuals and society. The paper also examines the rationale for government action in these areas as well as the key levers that policymakers could use to change the current situation. Because each of these topics is the subject of a larger and longstanding research literature, our summary is not exhaustive. Rather, we seek to provide a concise overview of existing research, so that the papers which follow can focus on potential solutions.

Our discussion of these topics is a reminder of both what has been accomplished since the passage of the Fair Housing Act (technically Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) half a century ago and also how far the US remains from the aspirations put forth when it became law. In particular, we note that while the extent and nature of discrimination have changed int he last five decades, the legacies of historical segregation and exclusion by government, private institutions, and individuals have continued to produce stark and stubborn patterns of racial segregation in US metropolitan areas.

At the same time, we note that changes in demography, income distribution, and the geography of American communities are changing the patterns of residential segregation by income and race/ethnicity. The bursting of the housing bubble and the Great Recession exacerbated distress among poor communities—particularly poor communities of color. In many metropolitan regions, job growth in central cities, improved neighborhood amenities, and increased demand for urban living have also fostered rapid increases in housing costs in longstanding low-income and minority communities located in or near those regions' urban cores. While gentrification has been one of the most visible signs of these changes, the suburbanization of lower-income households and the growing self-segregation of high-income households into wealthy enclaves are equally consequential.

The framing paper also documents the severe costs of this separation for all members of society, as well as the disproportionate burdens imposed on residents of neighborhoods with concentrated disadvantage. Residents of such neighborhoods—who are most often members of minority racial and ethnic groups—face elevated risks to their health, safety, and economic mobility. Moreover, at a national scale, there is compelling evidence that these individual costs constrain the economy from reaching its full potential while also increasing levels of prejudice and mistrust within the populace and impairing the functioning of our democracy. These costs, along with the potential benefits of greater integration, highlight the need for continued attention and innovation to these challenges.

The symposium papers, which will be released over the next few months, will present multiple perspectives about how we might address these challenges. Our hope is that they will raise questions, spur discussions, and ultimately contribute to forward progress.